Pawz, claws and feet turn out for Langley race

Will Simms crosses the finish line in first place Monday at Pawz by the Sea 5K Run/Walk in Langley.

Nearly 150 two and four-legged racers of all ages assembled in Langley Monday morning for the annual Pawz by the Sea 5K Run/Walk.

The event began at 9 a.m. at Second Street and wound through the town. The skies were overcast, but participants appeared to remain both dry and cheerful throughout the race.

Will Simms, a student at South Whidbey High School, and 11-year-old Kaia Richmond, both Langley residents, took first place in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.

Another Langley resident, Prince Brown, took first place in the kids category. Peter Lawlor, age 70, also entered the kids category and took the prize for “best last place finish” by “crawling over the finish line,” according to a Tuesday news release.

In addition, the top 10 men, women and dogs each won prizes. Several K-9s won accolades for categories ranging from “biggest eyes” to “most drool.”

The prize for biggest eyes went to a French Bulldog, Biggest Eyes, belonging to Brandon and Melissa Michaelis. Vader, who belongs to Carly Michaelis, won a prize for longest ears. Rose, who belongs to Terri Dilley, took home the award for shortest legs. Kai, who belongs to Chris Tsang, took the prize for most drool. Roscoe, who belongs to Moira Whidby, won a prize for having the curliest fur. The smallest pooch award went to Gemma, who belongs to Monica Alvarez. The largest K9 prize went to Max, who belongs to Brian Osborne. Angi Mozer’s dog Bowzer took the award for best costume. Freda Sprietsma’s dog Tulie Freeda took the prize for congeniality.

A drone camera hovered near the finish line. Though emcee Jim Freeman joked that the drone was an ESPN camera, but that wasn’t the case.

As much as we would’ve liked it, it was not an ESPN drone,” said Jean Dieden with a chuckle.

Dieden, owner of  Animal Hospital by the Sea, put on the annual race as a fundraiser for Good Cheer dog food bank and Happy Hounds 4H Club. About $1,000 worth of dog and cat food was raised during the event. All the food will go to the pet food bank, and about $300 raised will go to 4H.

The event was sponsored by a number of community businesses and was organized with the help of Louise Long, director of Perfect Time Events.

“I think it’s great for Langley just to have a 5K race that showcases the town,” Dieden said. “And… featuring all of the wonderful dog owners we have here on the island as an extra bonus.”